B.J. Thomas brings a passel of hits to Infinity Hall Dec. 14

You’d be hard-pressed to make up a career as varied as the one B.J. Thomas has built over the past 45 years. (He performs Dec. 14 at Infinity Hall). He’s sung pop, country and gospel; performed a definitive version of an iconic, Oscar-winning song and an early version of another tune that later became a pop-culture staple; and has released dozens of albums since his 1966 debut.

Like so many other performers, the Oklahoma native began singing with his church choir as a teeanger, then joined the local band the Triumphs, which covered Hank Williams Sr.’s “I’m So Lonesome I Could Cry” as the title track on its 1966 debut. The song launched Thomas’ career, and just two years later he landed a gold record with the hit single “Hooked on a Feeling.” (The Swedish group Blue Swede later recorded the version that played on “Ally McBeal” in the late ’90s.)

And just a year after that, Thomas had a No. 1 hit with “Raindrops Keep Fallin’ on My Head,” which went gold — and won an Academy Award for best original song in “Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid.” Thomas didn’t win the award — songwriters Burt Bacharach and Hal David did — but he scored another hit soon after with the top-10 hit “I Just Can’t Help Believing” (which Elvis Presley later covered), followed by another gold record in 1975 with “(Hey Won’t You Play) Another Somebody Done Somebody Wrong Song.”

He’s never had quite the same level of commercial success since then, but Thomas has kept busy releasing albums and performing. It’s probably safe to expect a selection of his biggest hits when he hits the stage in Norfolk.

[More Details] Ticket Price: $50, $75

Pay tribute to the greats with tribute acts at Infinity Hall

Live at the Fillmore pays tribute to the Allman Brothers Band Nov. 16 at Infinity Hall.

A considerable portion of popular music these days is build on a foundation of nostalgia, which is great if you love the classic-rock bands that are busy on the road, benefiting from all that nostalgia. It’s a little trickier, though, when you’re nostalgic for an act that’s no longer around. Thus, the tribute act.

Sure, seeing some guys playing the music of some other guys isn’t the same as seeing those original guys, despite the note-for-note versions of their songs, but beggars can’t be choosers. Duane Allman is gone, for example, but the Allman Brothers Band tribute act Live at the Fillmore re-creates some of his greatest musical moments, which came, not coincidentally, live at the Fillmore (and were captured on the landmark 1971 live album “At Fillmore East”). They play Infinity Hall Nov. 16.

Or there’s Big Shot, the Billy Joel tribute. Joel, of course, is still very much alive, but he doesn’t tour much these days, which makes these guys the answer to your hunger to hear someone play “Uptown Girl,” “Scenes From an Italian Restaurant” or, um, “Big Shot” in ocncert. They play Nov. 17 at Infinity Hall.

For you Fleetwood Mac fans, Tusk promises to cover “all the great hits of Fleetwood Mac” Dec. 1 at Infinity Hall. The Nutopians (led by Aztec Two-Step’s Rex Fowler) pays tribute to John Lennon on Dec. 8, which happens to be the anniversary of the day Lennon was murdered.

Pink Floyd’s David Gilmour and Roger Waters are also still alive, but each has pretty much ruled out any kind of large-scale Floyd reunion. Veteran Floyd tribute act the Machine has you covered Dec. 22 with an unplugged show, which should be interesting, given how many of Floyd’s songs (and albums) are intricately arranged musical suites.

Harold Ford does his best Man in Black with the Spirit of Johnny Cash Dec. 28, with Laura Lucy taking the role of June Carter Cash. And all you Deadheads are in luck Dec. 29, when Dead on Live will re-create note-for-note versions of “Workingman’s Dead” and “American Beauty.”

Reverse-success story the Smithereens play Dec. 9 at Infinity

The typical rock ‘n’ roll success story involves starting small and getting big. The Smithereens, performing Dec. 9 at Infinity Hall, are a success story in reverse.

Sure, they started small, and then they got big in the late ’80s with a punchy sound that foreshadowed the wave of alternative rock that washed over the ’90s. But when that same sound began to overshadow the Smithereens (Kurt Cobain cited the band as an influence), the group transitioned from big to small in a way that established a solid career that any band serious about music — as opposed to fame — would envy.

The Smithereens are still most widely known for the 1989 hit “A Girl Like You,” which came after the song “Blood and Roses,” from the band’s 1986 full-length debut, had appeared in the movie “Dangerously Close” and on the TV show “Miami Vice.” Over the past 15 years, though, the band hasn’t grubbed for mainstream commercial success or launched ill-conceived “combacks.” Rather, Pat DiNizio and company have kept busy releasing occasional albums (guess when “2011,” the most recent, came out?) and augmenting gigs in clubs with a highly successful house-concert business.

Unless you have the Smithereens booked for your living room soon, though, catching them in Norfolk is your best bet — particularly because it’s December and the album before “2011” was “Christmas With the Smithereens.”

[More Details] Ticket Price: $45, $60

On Sale: Jim Brickman..Kenny Vance.. Rhonda Larson..Simone Felice..Holiday Choral Benefit Concert


Jim Brickman
Matinée
Sunday, April 28th • 2:00 pm

Jim Brickman has revolutionized the sound of solo piano with his pop-style instrumentals. His signature style has brought him six Gold and Platinum albums, 30 charted adult radio hits, and two Grammy nominations. His hits include chart-toppers “Valentine,” “The Gift,” and “Love of My Life.”

Kenny Vance and The Planotones

Saturday, March 16th • 8:00 pm

Kenny Vance and The Planotones are among today’s great vocal pop musicians. Their material is influenced by the music of the 50’s and 60’s, but they consistently bring a unique and musically sophisticated point of view.

[More Details]


Rhonda Larson

Thursday, Janurary 10th • 8:00 pm

Grammy Award winner Rhonda Larson integrates her classical training with various ethnic traditions, eras, and flutes from around the world. She continues to be recognized as a visionary force, creating a refreshing hybrid music for the flute.

[More Details]


Simone Felice

Thursday, December 20th • 8:00 pm

Singer-songwriter Simone Felice was the former drummer, writer and vocalist of The Felice Brothers. He has long been a storyteller, writing prose and poetry as well as songs, and he has a truly remarkable story of his own to tell.

[More Details]


Holiday Choral Benefit Concert
featuring The Gilbert School and Northwestern Regional 7 High School Choruses


Thursday, December 30th • 8:00 pm

Infinity is proud to support music in our schools! We present to you a festive evening of holiday music from two of the best local High School Choral groups. This will be a special night, with each group performing their own repertoire, followed by a combined grand finale!

[More Details]

Independent and proud, Martin Sexton plays Dec. 7 at Infinity Hall

Singer and songwriter Martin Sexton performs indoors at Infinity Hall Dec. 7, but the singer and songwriter used to busk around Boston. He’s in good company: Bonnie Raitt, Melissa Etheridge, Tracy Chapman, Amanda Palmer and Mary Lou Lord, among others, have spent time singing in the streets of the Hub.

For Sexton, it was the launching pad to a quirky career that’s seen him veer from determinedly independent artist to major-label act and back to even more determined independent artist. Though his Atlantic Records releases, “The American” in 1998 and “Wonder Bar” in 2000, helped bring his music to a wider audience — what major labels are supposed to do — Sexton has released every album since on his own Kitchen Table label.

His is a pleasant sound, a low-key combination of folk and soul leavened with a little bit of rock ‘n’ roll, and it’s made his songs popular with TV music directors: Sexton’s songs have showed up in “Parenthood,” “Brotherhood” and “Scrubs,” which featured “Diner.” (Why no one has yet used his lovely “Hallelujah” is anybody’s guess.) Sexton’s sound has also made him popular with crowds: He’s a consistent, popular draw, and this show shouldn’t be any different.

[More Details] Ticket Price: $35, $45, $60

 

Sister Hazel does it all for you Dec. 6

In Florida, the ratio of good rock bands to total garbage skews heavily toward the latter, which makes it all the more pleasant when something worth listening to comes from such a feeble music scene. Er, no offense.

Put Sister Hazel in the good category. The Gainesville group, performing Dec. 6 at Infinity Hall, rose to prominence in the ’90s on a swell of major-label optimism about alt-rock bands. Sister Hazel was no studio creation, though: formed in 1993, the band mixed rock ‘n’ roll, pop and folk-rock on its 1994 debut, on the small indie label Croakin’ Poets. The album sold well enough to interest Universal, which scooped up Sister Hazel in time for the group’s biggest success, which came on the 1997 release “… Somewhere More Familiar.”

That album went platinum with sales of more than 1 million copies, thanks in large part to the single “All For You,” which climbed to No. 11 on the Billboard Hot 100 singles chart. Although the band’s next album, “Lift,” went gold, with sales of 500,000 copies, it was Sister Hazel’s last album for Universal. Subsequent releases have come on smaller indie labels, including Croakin’ Poets, which put out the band’s 2010 album “Heartland Highway,” which the band has described as a collection of “American road trip music.” Find out for yourself at Infinity.

[More Details] Ticket Price: $50, $70

Max Creek brings the jams to Norfolk Nov. 24

It’s a bit of a stretch to describe the jam-band scene as “too-oft overlooked,” in the words Max Creek (performing Nov. 24 at Infinity Hall). After all, Phish sells out giant venues on tour, Gathering of the Vibes gets bigger ever year, Disco Biscuits curates an entire weekend festival of its own, Bonnaroo leans jammy — the list goes on.

It’s true, though, that Max Creek is too-oft overlooked. The group has been an influential, if low-key, Northeast favorite for more than 40 years now, playing thousands of gigs during that span. In fact, the only way to get the real Max Creek experience is in concert: the group has released just seven albums in its career, and the most recent of those was a live recording from New Year’s Eve 1999. Live, the band is a classic jam band, stretching and moulding songs with freewheeling improvisations that unfold in their own time.

Max Creek celebrated its 40th anniversary last year in Costa Rica, but there’s no need to venture so far afield when you can see them play so much closer to home.

[More Details] Ticket Price: $35, $50